Before I develop an intolerance to modern wheat, I almost never brought something sweet to a party. Instead I brought salads, spanakopita, crudités.
I try to include vegetables with every meal and I find that they are often underrepresented at social gatherings, limited a few slices of mealy tomato and the sparse confetti of peppers and onions tossed into a bowl of cold pasta. It’s sad because vegetables can be so sexy. But as much as I love them, even the most alluring veggies have a hard time competing with dessert.
I can be perfectly happy with a handful of strawberries at the end of a meal, but only if I’m not surrounded by people noshing on brownies and mini cheesecakes. And this is often the situation I find myself in, one where an entire table is dedicated to sweets, but not a one is safe for me to consume. So, now I bring desserts.
These blondies were a hit at the cookout where they made their debut. They’re sweet, chewy, and just a little bit unusual. While I love to experiment with odd flavors—like the pineapple, star anise, and sunflower seed granola I made last week—I keep it classic when serving a crowd. These blondies have espresso powder, white chocolate chips, and oatmeal. I made them with spelt flour which has a hearty sweetness and rich color that complement the white chocolate. Whole grain flours make desserts feel more satisfying and make me feel a little less guilty for abandoning my beloved vegetables.
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole spelt flour (or 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coarsely ground coffee beans (optional)
Heat oven to 350° F. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and grease lightly.
With a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
Dump in espresso, salt, baking soda and spelt flour and beat until thoroughly incorporated.
Stir in oats and chips with a spatula or spoon until evenly distributed through batter.
Pour into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle coffee beans on top if desired and press into the dough.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is set and no longer wet looking.